Harry Potter 5: Box-Office Bonanaza

July 15, 2007–Warner's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix made the best ever five-day opening for a non-holiday picture at an estimated $140 million, part of a summer box office bonanza.

Overseas, Harry Potter was just as impressive. Phoenix made an estimated $190.3 million in its first five days from 44 countries for a whopping worldwide total of $330 million. Its the third-highest foreign opening on record. Pic is on track to become the best-performing in the franchise, one of several sequels this summer that has opened stronger than previous install-ments.

Despite the Harry Potter juggernaut, holdovers displayed remarkable stamina. Overall, domestic box office receipts for the top 10 pics were up 14% over the same weekend last year, when Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest led the pack in its second frame.

Already this summer, three sequels have crossed the $300 million mark domestically — Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End and Shrek the Third — with Trans-formers and now Phoenix on their way.

One weak spot over the weekend — auds didnt go for horror title Captivity, the only other new wide release after Phoenix, fueling sentiments that the torture-porn genre is stale. Pic, from After Dark Films, made estimated $1.5 million from 1,050 locations, putting it at No. 12.

Coming in No. 2 was DreamWorks and Paramounts Transformers, which dropped only 49% in its second frame. Tentpole made $36 million from 4,050 locations for a new domestic cume of $223 million.

Coming in No. 3 and No. 4 were Disney-Pixars Ratatouille and 20th Century Foxs Live Free or Die Hard, which were down just 38% and 39%, respectively, in their third frames. Ratatouille boiled up $18 million from 3,625 theaters for a new cume of $143 million.

Live Free crossed the $100 million mark at the box office, taking in $10.9 million from 3,201 locations for a new cume of $102.9 million.

Warner Bros. also nabbed the No. 5 spot with laffer License to Wed, which made an estimated $7.4 million from 2,715 locations in its second frame, a mere 29% drop. Pics cume now stands at $30.5 million.

Michael Moores docu Sicko held at No. 9, dropping only 26% as it expanded 756 theaters, with a healthy new cume of $15.8 million. A handful of other niche titles also enjoyed the bloom of full summer, although Paramount Vantages A Mighty Heart still failed to find its aud.Phoenix, directed by David Yates, made $77.4 million over the weekend from a whopping 4,285 locations, after opening to $44.2 million on Wednesday, the biggest Wednesday on record and the fifth largest opening day overall. Film made another $18.4 million Thursday.

Previous record for the best non-holiday, five-day opening was held by Shrek 2, which ponied up $128.9 million when bowing in May 2004.

This could certainly prove itself to be the biggest Potter movie weve had to date, Warner Bros. prexy of domestic distribution Dan Fellman said.

Its the first time that a Potter film has gotten a five-day opening; the others all opened on a Friday. In terms of the weekend itself, Phoenix clocked in the lowest. But, going by the five days, its the best bow in the franchise after Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which opened to $102.7 million.

The first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, remains the best performing overall, with a worldwide cume of $976.4 million. Domestic take was $317.5 million; overseas, the cume was $658 million.

Only one other Potter pic has been released in the summer, and that was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the lowest performing film in the franchise. All the others debuted just before the Thanksgiving holiday. Opening perf of Phoenix dispelled any worries that summer is cursed for the boy wizard.

Phoenix also broke Imax records, making an estimated $7.3 million from 91 locations over the first-five days, the best opening on the books, according to Imaxs Greg Foster. Thats a per screen average of $88,000.

Fellman was equally as elated over License to Wed, starring Robin Williams, Mandy Moore and John Krasinski, which has performed better than projected.

For a movie we positioned as counter-programming, we are very pleased with the results, Fellman said. We had an exceptional hold. Usually, pics drop very fast in the summer.

Many had predicted that Transformers would drop by more than 50% in its second frame. But the pic, directed by Michael Bay and based on the Hasbro toy line, more than held its own.

It looks like were doing a little bit of our own wizardry, DreamWorks spokesman Marvin Levy said.

Another frighteningly strong holdover was Dimensions more conventional horror film 1408, distributed by MGM. The John Cusack starrer pulled ahead of Universals pricey comedy Evan Almighty to take the No. 6 spot. Film, down 29%, made an estimated $5 million from 2,206 locations for a new total of $62.2 million.

Evan made $4.9 million from 2,702 locations for a new cume of $87.9 million, down 43%. U also took No. 7 with its hit summer laffer Knocked Up, which made $3.6 million in its 8th frame for a new total of $138.1 million, down only 30%.

Phoenix and Transformers have another weekend to duke it out before Fox bows The Simpsons on July 27.